France & Belgium Vacation Beer Haul

Beer haul from our France & Belgium vacation

Here is the beer haul from our recent trip to France & Belgium where we met with some of the brewers and vendors for our upcoming October beer tour Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France”

This is all the beer we were able to fit in our luggage without going over the 50 pound limit.  We also had some fantastic Bière de Garde from St Germain (Page 24) and Belgian Ales from Sint Canarus, which we weren’t able to bring back home due to the weight limits.

During this working vacation we had the chance to visit 8 of the 11 breweries which will be on our tour. This included 3 fabulous breweries on the France side of the border, 5 on the Belgium side and one French genièvre distillery.  From France we visited Brasserie Bailleux / Au Baron, Brasserie St Germain & Brasserie Thiriez.  In Belgium wevisited Brouwerij Rodenbach, Brouwerij St Bernardus, Brouwerij Van Eecke, Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus & Chimay. 

Over the next few days in this blog we will be highlighting each of the breweries on our tour as well as share some amazing beery information on the beer scene in Lille.  For those who want a quick look at the amazing Day by Day Itinerary of the Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise click here.

Beers in the Photo from left to right are:

The Pastis by Ricard, well it’s not beer but was added as a palate cleanser between beers 🙂

Dalva, a fantastic D.I.P.A. from Brasserie Thiriez.

Toyko, a Witbier from St Bernardus which was made for their new brewpub in Toyko.

2 great Saisons from Brasserie Baileux (Au Baron) both the Brune and the Ambrée
Saison Saint Médard.

Rodenbach’s Caractère Rouge which cost only 7.99 euro at a supermarket close to the French/Belgian border.

Rodenbach 2009 Vintage, a gift from the Rudi the brewer.

The last 3 beers were found at L’Abbaye des Saveurs a fabulous bottle shop in Lille which carries over 300 different beers, including a great selection of French beers:
Cuvée D’Oscar from Craig Allen.

Kabert (a blend of Kate the Great and Black Albert) from de Struise.

1997 Samichlaus (the last year it was made and bottled by the old brewery Hürlimann in Zürich Switzerland, it is now made by Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg in Austria).

Bon Beer Voyage

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The Monumental Beer Tour of Washington DC

The Monumental Beer Tour of

Washington DC


Learn about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hoppiness!

Explore some of the most inspiring monuments in our nation’s capital city in a whole new light during this brewnique walking tour given by Ruth Berman, CEO & BBB of Bon Beer Voyage -who also happens to be a licensed Washington DC Tour Guide!

Discover entertaining tidbits and historical information about our founding fathers as well anecdotes about how beer is intertwined with those who have served our country.

We are running this specially themed tour on Saturday, June 9, 2012

so that those of you who are attending any of the great beer events in the city this weekend can say “Yes, of course I did some sightseeing when I was in our nation’s capital!”

The tour is open to all, so whether you are just in town for a few days or live locally and want a new perspective on your hometown, we hope you will join us- and feel free to bring the family along!

(Please note: This is a walking tour of the monuments, not a pub crawl, so while beer talk will be served up, no beer will actually be served) The tour will last approximately 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours, ending just in time to head out to lunch and the various afternoon events about town.

Date: Saturday, June 9, 2012
Cost: $15 per person
Time: 10:00AM (please try to be at meeting place by 9:50AM- we start promptly at 10)
Meeting Place: At the 17th street entrance to the World War II Memorial (across the street from the Washington Monument)
Attire: Walking Shoes – clothing is a good idea too, since nudity is banned on the mall 🙂

Bring: Umbrella (if you have it, it probably won’t rain) Water Bottle, Camera, Sunscreen, Your Friends!

Click Here to Register Today- Space is limited!

Bon Beer Voyage

Due South Brewing Co- New Brewery in Boynton Beach, Fl

Due South Brewing Co on Opening Day

The newest brewery to open in Boynton Beach, Florida is Due South Brewing Co.Well it is really the ONLY brewery in Boynton Beach now since Hops Grill and Brewery closed sometime in the mid 2000’s.

They are located between Gateway Blvd and Hypoluxo RD at 2900  High Ridge Rd. #3 Boynton Beach, Florida 33426.  The brewery can be found between Sherwin Williams and Boynton Granite & Marble, with the entrance and parking in the back of the warehouse.  Phone # 561-463-BEER (2337)

Due South Brewing Co is not only the 1st production brewery to open in Boynton Beach, but they have a tasting room as well.  Mike Halker the owner & brewer worked hard and paved the way to get the city to change the local ordinances to now allow a tasting room inside a commercial production facility.  This will make it easier for future breweries and/or commercial food production facilities to sell their wares at the source and this should help the city with tourism.

Opening Day at Due South Brewing Company was on Saturday May 12th 2012.  They opened their doors to the general public at 3pm.    I arrived sometime before 6pm and found a nice sized crowd outside the brewery.

Due South Brewing entrance and “back yard” with the food trucks

Due South Brewery has 3 separate areas for you to enjoy their brews.  Outside the brewery they will be having food trucks arriving for certain events and times during the week.   For their grand opening they had Lucille’s Ribs., Guiseppes, Big Kahuna shaved ice and a Greek food truck.

Inside the Brewery they have 6 taps in the “open” area of the brewery and room for 7 taps inside a smaller “walled off” tasting room.

Due South Brewing Co. The “inside” tasting room, with some great bottle cap art on the walls.

Due South Brewing. The “open” area of the Breweries tasting room. They even have directions to find other breweries.

They had 2 sized pours today, for $2 you got yourself a half pour taste and for $4 you got a full pour.  I tasted all 5 of their tasty beers which they had on tap today, with my top 3 being:

1) Southern Saison 5.6% abv

2) Category 3, an IPA at 6.1% abv

3) Roasted Cocoa Stout, an American Stout at 6.1% abv and brewed with cocoa nibs added and served on a nitro tap.

In addition to my “top 3” they also had on tap

Caramel Cream Ale, 5% abv

Honey Vanilla Wheat, 4.8% abv

Due South Brewing Taps

Due South Brewing opening Day Tap List & Menu

In addition to the Due South “house beers”, they had 8 guess taps on opening day from 3 other Florida Breweries:

Tequesta Brewing Co from Tequesta

Swamp Head Brewery from Gainesville

Cigar City Brewing Co from Tampa

Drink like a Local. Great Concept by the Florida Brewers

Overall it was a fantastic event and I look forward to spend many nights in this local brewery.   Now I can’t wait to find these brews at my local restaurants and bars.

If you haven’t already visited Due South Brewing, makes sure you put this place on your to do list as you will not be disappointed.

Hours are:

Sunday,  Tuesday to Thursday: Noon – 10pm
Friday  & Saturday: Noon – 11pm
Monday:  Closed

Bon Beer Voyage

Beer #155 Lamoral Degmont

Lamoral Tripel

Name:  Lamoral Degmont

Style: Tripel                   

Brewery: Brouwerij Van den Bossche  website

Country: Belgium

Region: Sint-Lieven-Esse

ABV: 8.0% Abv

How served:  750 ml . capped bottle poured into proper glassware, a Lamoral Degmont glass.           

My Overall Opinion:  Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Grilled salmon.

Tasted on:  Sunday January 16th, 2011  

Note: This bottle opened with a loud pop and started to overflow from the bottle before I poured my 1st glass.   The beer poured a hazy golden color with a large 3 finger fluffy white head leaving a thin lacing on the glass.   The nose was sweet of malts, citrus and bready yeast.   The taste starts sweet of burnt caramel and honey then you get a to the coriander spice and fruits overtones of the Belgian yeast and finished almost dry.  The mouthfeel was a thin to medium syrupy feel with a tingling carbonation.  The drinkability was very good for a beer almost 4years past its prime.

On the Label:  Best before 03/03/07.  (Oh well I aged this one a little longer then they suggested.  But the outcome was still very very good!!!!).  When you age a beer, you can get 3 different outcomes.  Either the beer will be…

 #1, the beer is better than the “non-aged” brew. 

#2 the beer is not as good as the “fresh beer. 

OR in this case

#3, the beer is just different, but in a good way (which means you get2 beers for the price of 1)

From their website:  (please note that this did not translate very well)

LAMORAL DEGMONT

A third generation – third beer?

A beer that is full of flavor, stores well and is stable over time, with an aroma like a basket full of vegetables that need a beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle.  Actually, this is a beer brewer that any worries.  The brewery brews have already made several trial and with the exception of the name was the beer with secondary fermentation in point.

Ignace Van den Bossche is a member of Kiwanis Zottegem””, a service club in the making, and make plans for an original way to collect money for the social purpose of the club.  That was the pinprick that were needed for the beer to come out.

After much searching, a name put forward”Lamoral”, the name of Earl of Egmont, whose statue is in castle Zottegem located.
In the original Spanish text of the hearing of Egmont and Hoorn, draws his interview with”Egmont”which ultimately Lamoral Degmont name of the new beer.

Just to be original if the name is in partnership with Kiwanis Zottegem a beautifully designed label, completely gray tones, and an appropriate fine glass.

The beer”Lamoral Degmont”with his label, his glass, its aroma, color, his taste and foam will ensure that the beer will be consumed far beyond its  provincial boundaries.

Flavour: Lamoral Degmont has an amber color with a beautiful blonde, white head.  The aroma is dominated by fruit and spices.  At first spicy notes come up, but soon evolves into an intense taste bitter aftertaste.

Figures:
High fermentation
Vol alcohol: 8%
Plato: 16 °

Available:
24×33 cl
12×75 cl
 30 l

Love Great Beer?  Join Us on a Bon Beer Voyage Beercation! www.BonBeer.com

Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery Vintage Sour Beer Tasting

Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery

Vintage Sour Beer Tasting

Jan 09, 2011

 The Funky Buddha is located at 2621 N Federal Highway Boca Raton, Fl

561-368-4643

Website: http://www.thefunkybuddha.com/

 

Our 1st 15 beers Tasted at the Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery

 

Here is the order of the beers we tasted.

2003 Liefmans Goudenband & 2004 Mort Subite Gueuze

Beer #1

2003 Liefmans Goudenband

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin                      

Brewery:  Brouwerij Liefmans   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Oudenaarde

ABV: 8.0% Abv

This beer was much more sweet, then tart.   I’ve had the opportunity to taste Goudenband on many occasions and it is usually a mildly tart and refreshing beer. This 2003 version was good, but not at all tart. 

Beer #2

2004 Mort Subite Gueuze

Style: Gueuze                      

Brewery:  Brouwerij De Keersmaeker  

Country:  Belgium  Region: Asse-Kobbegem

ABV: 4.5% Abv

 

2003 Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vielle

 

Beer #3

2003 Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vielle

Style: Lambic – Cherry                      

Brewery:  Brouwerij Oud Beersel   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Beersel

ABV: 6.5% Abv

 

2004 Rodenbach

Beer #4

2004 Rodenbach

Style: Flanders Red Ale                      

Brewery:  Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Roeselare

ABV: 5.1% Abv

2010 & 2003 Rodenbach Grand Cru

Beers #5 & 6

2010 Rodenbach Grand Cru

&

2003 Rodenbach Grand Cru

Style: Flanders Red Ale                      

Brewery:  Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Roeselare

ABV: 6.0% Abv

It was very interesting to try the “regular” Rodenbach, the 2010 & the 2003 Rodenbach Grand Cru side by side.  In terms of tartness I would have to say that Rodenbach was mildly tart, the 2010 Grand Cru was about 2x’s tarter & the 2003 kicked up the tartness factor to a very enjoyable puckering level as it was about 4x more tart then the 2010 Grand Cru. 

 

2005 Cantillon Kriek

 

Beer #7

2005 Cantillon Kriek

Style: Lambic – Cherry                     

Brewery:  Brasserie Cantillon.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Brussels

ABV: 5.0% Abv

2005 Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek

 Beer #8

2005 Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek

Style: Lambic – Cherry                     

Brewery:  Brasserie Cantillon.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Brussels

ABV: 5.0% Abv

 I found in comparing the above 2 beers, that the Lou Pepe Kriek was much more tart, smoother and more refreshing then their regular Kriek. 

 

What's on Draft at the Funky Buddha

 

2005 Cantillon Iris

 

Beer #9

2005 Cantillon Iris

Style: Lambic                      

Brewery:  Brasserie Cantillon.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Brussels

ABV: 5.0% Abv

 Iris is a “Hoppy” Lambic. 

2005 Panil Bariquée

 

 Beer #10

2005 Panil Bariquée

Style: Flanders Red Ale                     

Brewery: Panil   website

Country:  Italy  Region: Torrechiara

ABV: 8.0% Abv 

2005 Cantillon Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru

 

 Beer #11

2005 Cantillon Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru

Style: Lambic                       

Brewery:  Brasserie Cantillon.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Brussels

ABV: 5.0% Abv

Cisco Winter Woods

 Beer #12

Cisco Winter Woods

Style: Flemish Braggot                     

Brewery:  Cisco Brewers Inc   website

Country:  USA  Region: Nantucket, Massachusetts

ABV: 9.0% Abv

This was one heck of a great brew.  I would like to try some more of their “the Woods” series brews.

2003 Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise & Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze

 

Beer #13

2003 Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise

Style: Lambic – Strawberry                     

Brewery:  Brasserie Cantillon.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Brussels

ABV: 5.0% Abv

Beer #14

2003 Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze

Style: Gueuze                      

Brewery:  Brasserie Cantillon.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Brussels

ABV: 5.0% Abv

The Following beers are extras that some of the guest brought with them to share & I had a chance to taste.   

Funky Buddha Tasting

 

2005 Cantillon Cuvée Des Champions

 

Guest Beer #1

2005 Cantillon Cuvée Des Champions

Style: Lambic                      

Brewery:  Brasserie Cantillon.   website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Brussels

ABV: 5.0% Abv

Similar to Iris, as this is also a “Hoppy” Lambic.

2009 Horal’s Oude Geuze Mega Blend

 

Guest Beer #2

2009 Horal’s Oude Geuze Mega Blend

Style: Geuze                     

Brewery:  Blend from 8 HORAL members (3 Fonteinen, Boon, De Cam Oude, De Troch, Hanssens, Lindemans, Oud Beersel and Timmermans). website

Country:  Belgium  Region: Multiple

ABV: 7.0% Abv

This one interesting Geuze as it was a bend of 8 different Lambics from 8 different breweries.   I feel that as good & enjoyable as this Geuze was, the Geuze you could try from some of those individual breweries would have been better.

Lost Abbey Veritas 008

 

Guest Beer #3

Lost Abbey Veritas 008

Style: American Wild Ale                      

Brewery:  The Lost Abbey   website

Country:  USA  Region:  San Marcos, California

ABV: 8.0% Abv

This is the latest version of the Veritas series which is this 008 is also part of the Lost Abbey’s “Tea” series of beers.

 

My Change of Pace from the Sour/Tart Beers to End the Day

Sex Panther Black IPA

Style: Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/ India Dark Ale                      

Brewery:  Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery   website

Country:  USA  Region: Boca Raton, Fl

ABV: 7.0% Abv

This Funky Buddha Black IPA was up there with the best of the Black IPA’s I’ve tried to date.  If you’re a hop head, you would want to try this one for sure.

 

My Top 5 Beers of the Day, in No Particular Order:

2003 Rodenbach Grand Cru

2005 Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek

Cisco Winter Woods

2003 Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise

Sex Panther Black IPA 

 

My 2 Least Favorite Beers of the Day, in No Particular Order:

2003 Liefmans Goudenband (I normally love Goudenband, but not this one)

Lost Abbey Veritas 008 (Too much tea going on in this beer for my taste)

Summary of the Oct 2010 BBV Belgium Beercation (Day 2)

Summary of the Oct 2010 Bon Beer Voyage Belgium Beercation (Day 2)

 Day 2 Sunday October 24th  (BRUGES)

Today after a nice leisurely breakfast on board the barge we all headed out to do a walking tour of Bruges.   Our local guide showed us the picturesque historic areas and gave us an insight to life in Bruges both past and present. 

Bruges canals

Grote Markt

Bruges

 Of course you couldn’t have a tour of Bruges without some beery sites, here are two; De Halve Mann Brewery and Gruuthuse.  

De Halve Mann Brewery

Gruuthuse

The Gruuthuse was owned by one of the richest families of Bruges during the medieval times.  The old Flemish word ‘gruut‘ was the main ingredient for beer brewing in the Middle Ages. The lords of Bruges had the monopoly on the sale of this very important product and taxed its use.  Since everyone was drinking beer, their monopoly made them very wealthy and powerful. (huse = house).

After the walking tour we had lunch on the barge and then were free to explore Bruges on our own until dinner at Den Dyver.

Here are some of the places my wife and I checked out waiting for dinner:

Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

 Bierbrasserie Cambrinus : They have a massive beer menu which is bound in a wooden cover.  They have about 400 bottled beers and 8 on tap, as well as a fantastic food menu with cuisine ala bière. 

Rochefort 10 & Urthel Saisonnière

We sampled the Urthel Saisonnière- a 6.0%abv Saison from De Leyerth Brouwerijen and

Rochefort 10- a Quadrupel with an abv of 11.30% and brewed at the Brasserie de Rochefort at the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy.

I wanted to see the new bar which took over the location vacated by De Zolder, Comptoir des Arts, so we took a short walk just outside of the Grote Markt.  

Comptoir des Arts

 Comptoir des Arts is a cellar bar which was opened up recently by one of the former bartenders at  ‘t Brugs Beertje.  It is a jazz & blues bar with over 90 beers & I was excited to see what they had to offer, but we were out of luck, as they were not to open for another hour.

So we walked across the street to go to  ‘t Poatersgat, also a cellar bar which has over 100 bottled beers including a nice assortments of  Lambic & Gueuze. 

‘t Poatersgat

 We walked downstairs and the place was empty, as they just opened up for the day.  We wanted to be somewhere that was a little more crowded so we could be more social, so we left and headed to my old standby… Staminee De Garre 

 De Garre was packed but we were able to find a table to share with a nice couple from Belgium.  So here we got our chance to have a few good beers and enjoy conversation with a couple of locals. 

Hanssens Oude Gueuze

 We had the Hanssens Oude Gueuze a 6.0%abv Gueuze from Hanssens Artisanall bvba  &

Rochefort 10

 for the second time today the Rochefort 10, which my wife Ruth just can’t get enough of.   

 After finishing our beers, conversation and some cheese we had time to head to one more place before dinner.

 We went to the beer bar at the back of the massive beer bottle shop 2be, which is only a few steps from Den Dyver.   

2be's Wall of Beer

 On the way to the bar you pass 2be’s famous wall of Belgian Beers.  On this wall they have on display all 780 of the Belgian beers found in the book  All Belgium Beers, along with the appropriate glassware.  The wall is an amazing sight to see for both the beer geek and the novice.     

Belgoo Magus & ?

At the bar we had the Belgoo Magus a Belgian Pale Ale of 6.6% abv brewed by Brasserie La Binchoise  and a very unmemorable Belgian Dark Ale, which was apparently so forgetful that its name has slipped my mind.

Den Dyver

Cheers at Den Dyver

We all made it to Den Dyver  and were happy to be hungry, as we knew we were going to have a feast.  Den Dyver is well known for its cuisine a la bière.  They received the 2009 Gold Medal Beer & Gastronomy Award from Bierpassie, Ambiance Magazine & Maxwell Williams.  

House Blonde Beer & appetizer plate

We all started off with the House Blonde Beer as an aperitif  along with an appetizer plate consisting of 3 items, including a delicious crispy duck!

For our 2nd plate, some chose to have the Artic Char with garden peas, hazelnuts and dill marinated with onion, tangerine oil and chili salt. 

Cuvée des Trolls & Char

This was paired with Cuvée des Trolls which is a 7.0% abv Belgium Strong Pale Ale from the Brasserie Dubuisson Frères. 

Wild Boar & Duchesse de Bourgogne

Others chose for the 2nd Plate, the trio of Salted Wild Boar smoked on Rodenbach wood, Wild Boar Sausage with apple and sage & Wild Boar Croquette with cranberries and black radish. 

Duchesse de Bourgogne

This was paired with Duchesse de Bourgogne which is a Flanders Red Ale of 6.2% abv brewed by Brouwerij Verhaeghe.

Bill & Randy at Den Dyver
Carol studies beer pouring before trying it herself during dinner at Den Dyver

Janet, Maria & Rob's 3 Beers at Den Dyver

Our 3rd course was a choice between the Red Snapper prepared with lime, garlic and lemon thyme, served with Bintjes potatoes roasted on pine wood blewit and beetroot or the Baked Pheasant served with Brussels sprouts and chorizo, turnip, onion and gingerbread ratte potatoes.   (this is from the menu, don’t ask me to explain what these strange words are! All I know is that it may read weird, but it all tasted amazing!)

Saint Feuillien Saison

The Snapper was paired with Saint Feuillien Saison- a Saison of 6.5% abv from Brasserie St. Feuillien.

Westmalle Dubbel

Baked Pheasant & Westmalle Dubbel

 The Pheasant was paired with the Westmalle Dubbel -a 7.00% abv Dubbel from the Brouwerij Westmalle at the Abdij Der Trappisten van Westmalle

Carol, Ruth and Mike enjoying Den Dyver with Westmalle & Saint Feuillien

 

Fantasy of Dark Chocolate & Urthel Samaranth

Urthel Samaranth

 For desert, we all had the Fantasy of Dark Chocolate with a citrus fruit plate, which was paired with Urthel Samaranth – an 11.0%abv Quadrupel from De Leyerth Brouwerijen

 

The Beer Guides Toast to a perfect meal at Den Dyver

 

Bruges at Night

Stay tuned for Day 3, when we leave Bruges and travel through the canals of Belgium on our Barge, the Iris, to Gent where we will spend 2 days before heading to Antwerp and Brussels.

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Summary of the Oct 2010 BBV Belgium Beercation (Day 1)

Summary of the Oct 2010 Bon Beer Voyage Belgium Beercation  

Boarding the Iris

 Day 1 Saturday October 23rd   (BRUGES) 

Bruges

welcome aboard beer toast

We started off this beercation with (what else?) a welcome aboard beer toast. We toasted with a Wieckse Witte a Witbier at 5.00% abv, brewed by the now defunct De Ridder Brewery

Wieckse Witte

This toast was followed with a gourmet lunch in which our chef used this beer to prepare both the appetizer and the main meal, which was spectacular.

 After we had our whistles wetted and our stomachs satisfied, we headed off to visit In de Vrede, the pub at the Abbey Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren

All signs point to Abdij Sint Sixtus

In de Vrede

While in the café we all had a chance to try the Westvleteren 12, 8 & the Blonde.

In de Vrede bliss

The 3 Westvleteren's (the 12 the Blonde & the 8)

 The 12 is a Quadrupel at 10.20% abv,

The 8 is a Dubbel at 8.00% abv and

The Blonde is a Belgian Pale Ale at 5.80% abv. 

Cheers from Westvleteren

After tasting these world class beers, some of the group visited the Claustrum, which is an exhibition room where you can get a feel about a monk’s life in the abbey.   

We left In de Vrede and walked across the street to the Abbey. We found out that our timing was amazing, since that day, for the 1st time they would be selling 3 packs (one 12, one 8 & one Blonde) to the general public in the area where the cars usually pick up their crates of Westvleteren beer.   

Westvleteren 8 crates

Westvleteren price list

Normally you can only buy this beer either by the 6 pack at In de Vrede, if available, (and not on a Saturday, when we were there) or by the crate at the Abbey by making a reservation in advance by phone only.  So, to our delight we were able to purchase a few 3 packs from the monks along with some Westvleteren infused chocolates!

The Westvleteren 3 packs which were for sale

Westvleteren chocolate and beer to go!

(De Dolle Brouwers)

Our next stop was to the family owned brewery De Dolle Brouwers.   

Here we were 1st given a tour of the facilities and a history of the brewery by Mous, the 93 year old mother of the brewers.  

Mous giving a tour of De Dolle Brouwers

Mous tells us the story of the De Dolle beers

De Dolle Brouwers tour

After this very informative tour we got a chance to sample some of the beers.   

Else, the wife of Kris Herteleer, one of the 2 brother brewers, poured us a tasting of Oerbier and Arabier from the tap.  

Else describing how the Oerbier is made and how it should taste

Else shows us how to properly pour the beer

Else coaches Ruth on the proper pour

 

Else & Ruth toast to a successful pour of Oerbier & Arabier

 Oerbier is their flagship beer which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9.5% abv.  

Arabier is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.0% abv.   

Bill enjoying his Oerbier

Bill & brewer Kris Herteleer discussing brewing techniques

De Dolle Tasting Room

Else & Maria model the proper “bar wear”

After tasting those 2 beers, we had a couple of surprises.  The 1st surprise was a chance to taste the Lichtervelds Blond.

 

Lichtervelds Blond

 Lichtervelds Blond is a Tripel at 9.0% abv and is made almost exclusively for the town of Lichtervelds. 

Else explained that 80% of their production of this brew, which is made once per year, is given to the town of Lichtervelds for a festival, with the other 20% kept at the brewery to be sold only for consumption onsite.

Our 2nd surprise came after discussing Christmas beers and questioning when the 2010 Stille Nacht would be available.   To our astonishment, Else pulled out of the refrigerator a bottle from their 1st bottling of this year’s version, which was bottled only 3 days prior.  She confessed that she and her husband Kris hadn’t even tasted this year’s batch.  They were going to save that bottle to taste that evening, but fortunately for us, they were kind enough to share it with us!  

The 2010 Stille Nacht- bottled on Oct 20th 2010

Stille Nacht is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 12.0% abv.  

Bill showing off the bottle of this year’s Stille Nacht

 

Else tasting the 2010 Stille Nacht

This year’s batch is fantastic and was less sweet then the past few years, which made this one extremely drinkable.  I would suggest finding this brew to drink now and to save a few to age.

By the way, Kris is not only a fantastic brewer, but a fabulous artist.  Throughout the brewery and bar area you can see his artwork.

Art work by De Dolle brewer Kris Herteleer

Kris showing Ruth some of his art work and his sketchbook of Brugge

After dinner on the barge, which was as good as you would find in a 3 star Michelin restaurant, some of us went on a beer hunting expedition to ‘t Brugs Beertje .  

‘t Brugs Beertje

At Brugs Beertje we sat down and shared a few brews and great beery conversation with my friend Filip Geerts, who produces the Belgian Beer Board website, his wife Katrien, and Regnier,who runs the Bruges bottle shop De Bier Tempel .

Friends sharing a few beers at ‘t Brugs Beertje

Before we got a chance to look of the beer menu, Filip & I exchanged early Christmas gifts.  I got him the  Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing and he got me the Bush Ambrée Triple. This Belgian Strong Pale Ale has a 12.0% abv and comes from Brasserie Dubuisson Frères.  This beer was made for the 75th anniversary of Bush.

Here is a list of beers we sampled at Brugs Beertje:

 

Guido

 Guido -a Belgian Strong Dark Ale of 8.0%abv which is no longer being brewed by Brouwerij Smisje. Filip, in addition to keeping up the Belgian Beer Board, also contributes to the Smisje website.

Smiske

 Smiske is a Belgian Pale Ale of 7.0% abv and is brewed by Brouwerij Smisje.

 Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze is a Gueuze at 6.0% abv brewed by Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen.

 St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a Quadrupel at 10.5% abv brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV. 

an empty glass of Triple d’Anvers

Triple d’Anvers – an  8.0% abv Tripel which is a new brew from Brouwerij De Koninck (which is now owned by Duvel Moortgat). 

Daisy pouring the Ichtegem’s Grand Cru

Ichtegem’s Grand Cru

 Ichtegem’s Grand Cru- a Flemish Red Ale of 6.5%abv brewed by Brouwerij Strubbe.

 

 

2009 De Dolle Brouwers Oerbier Special Reserva

2009 De Dolle Brouwers Oerbier Special Reserva, which is a 13.0%abv Flanders Oud Bruin brewed by Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers.

 

2010 St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

  

Bruges at night

And we all ended the night with the 2010 St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale of 10.0% abv brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV. 

Stay tuned for Days 2 through 7 as we Barge through Belgium using the canals to go to Gent, Antwerp and Brussels.

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